Namibia, Land of the long Meetings

Annual planning meeting, David Sheema SS, OutapiWhat have economizing, management, PQA, price giving, RPIS and many other meetings or gatherings all in common? They usually take quite a while. In the western business world we are – of course not everywhere – used to quick and efficient meetings: in and out within an hour or so. As with many other things it is a bit different in the Namibian Government regardless if you are in the North or in Windhoek. You go in at 09:00 and you come out at 17:00. Sometimes without a single break except a walk to the toilet room. After two years I still have trouble to deal with it. Main causes for such ‘meeting marathons’ are the group and the agenda – both are usually way to big. Take 17 people, 23 new topics, another twenty resolutions to go through from the last meeting and you and your day is done. RPIS teacher conference, Regional Council, OutapiI admire some of my colleagues as they really stay focused at all times whilst I often space out after a couple of hours and a few ‘generic’ red-bulls. However recently some of them also criticized long meetings and the amount of them which keeps them away from their offices. Change takes time. Also in meeting culture. Until then unhealthy consumption of caffeine and lobbying it is: no matter how important your items are, if they are on the second half of the agenda you’re better off taking them of the list completely. People might not be as exhausted as you are. But at the end things always become rushed as everyone is keen for the knocking-off time.

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